Lady in Waiting

Episode 5 – Lady in Waiting

The fifth episode of Columbo was titled Lady in Waiting and marked the first time a female killer featured on the show. This episode saw Columbo try to overturn a coroner’s inquiry verdict of accidental death. In the podcast Gerry and Iain look at the methods and motives of Lady in Waiting and try to ascertain whether justice can be done.



This episode returned to a smaller core cast than had been used in recent episodes, with only Leslie Nielsen‘s straight-shooting Peter Hamilton, Susan Clark‘s enigmatic killer Beth Chadwick and Jessie Landis‘ overbearing Mrs Chadwick playing key roles, along with Richard Anderson (best known for his subsequent performances in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman) as our victim, Bryce Chadwick.


Nielsen is, of course, now the best known of these actors. At the time Lady in Waiting was produced he was already proving a prolific performer, with multiple television roles to his name, but it was to be almost ten years later that his international profile took shape, first with Airplane! and then with the Police Squad series and the subsequent Naked Gun movies. This appearance came twenty years into what became a sixty-year acting career and offers only occasional hints of the deadpan comedy Nielsen would come to be known for.


There was no trivia question again this week, but if anyone would like to discuss anything covered in the podcast or related to Lady in Waiting then please feel free to comment here, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.


The Columbo Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, tunein, Pocket Casts or pretty much wherever you choose to get your podcasts from. If you enjoy the show then please do consider leaving ratings and reviews on these sites as that can help the podcast a lot.


Lady in Waiting was released in 1971. It is 75 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all eleven seasons released by Universal.


The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.

  • digger01

    Another great podcast episode! With regard to the incident you discussed at the end about Peter Falk going on strike: Falk talks about this in his autobiography. He stated that he had asked if he could direct an episode and was told that yes, he would be given a first-season episode to direct.

    The studio was putting him off, though. He wasn’t sure why, but it was likely because they didn’t want to put their hit show at risk with an unproven director. Falk’s agent arranged a meeting with the studio exec to sort everything out, and they gave him an episode to direct, which was the final episode of the first season, “Blueprint For Murder”.

    Thanks once again for a fun and engaging discussion!

  • Peter

    This episode reminds me of the old movie called The Heiress with Olivia deHavilland and Sir Ralph Richardson. De Havilland plays a wallflower pursued by a handsome young man played by Montgomery Clift. The controlling father, played by Richardson, demands she break it off as he is skeptical of Cift. When Richardson dies, she reverts from wallflower to assertive cynic.

    • Not seen that one, Peter. Would you recommend it?

      • Peter

        It was made in 1949. Great actors. Was decent but not great movie.

      • Peter

        There is a great scene though where Richardson, who is one of my favorite old-time actors, gets witheringly sarcastic with his daughter when he tries to convince her Clift is after her money. In this movie, unlike the Columbo episode, the suitor is not sincere.

        • There’s a wonderful scene at the end with deHavilland and Clift. William Wyler directed.

  • Listened to this podcast this morning really enjoyed it, been a big Columbo fan ever since I was a kid. Really enjoy this episode as soon as that music starts and that helicopter shot feels like time travel to me. Just in general terms I love how every one of the shows is exactly the same and totally different all at the same time. (if that makes sense).

    Would love to hear you do a episode on other people who’ve played the character (Dirk Benedict on stage for instance), The spin off show Mrs Columbo starring Kate Mulgrew, how technology is brought into some episodes like mobile phones, or timers for video recorders, how his nephew’s are always into something convenient to help him solve the crime or how Falk only as one eye!

    Just listening to the first episode, and I’m sure listen to the others too, keep up the good work.

    • Thanks CSF. We look forward to your thoughts on the other episodes as you work through them!

  • Largo

    Just stopping by to thank you for all of your efforts here. I’ve been re-watching my Columbo DVD sets recently and discovered and subscribed to your Columbo podcast via iTunes.

    Listening to this most recent episode, I find that you’re still discussing the music and the lack of a Columbo theme. Well, there was never a Columbo theme. However, Henry Mancini did write the theme for the NBC Mystery Movie — which was the “umbrella” title that Columbo originally aired under and was associated. Columbo initially rotated with two other “NBC Mystery Movie” series: McMillan & Wife (starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James) and McCloud (with Dennis Weaver).

    • Thanks Largo, glad you’re enjoying the shows. You’ll probably note another reference to the lack of a theme tune when Episode 6 arrives tomorrow. We’re looking at all the things we see developing over the weeks and the way the shows open is one of the interesting aspects.

  • Thanks digger. This got caught in the mod queue because of the link, sorry!

    • digger01

      Thanks much!

  • Ian Baxter

    I’m revisiting this podcast after the discussion on the episode ‘Publish or Perish’ to see if it was noted that Nielsen and Anderson have acted together earlier… in ‘Forbidden Planet’…

    • And was it? (Can’t actually remember!)

      • Ian Baxter

        I don’t think so, but you did flag up a couple of other good connections.

  • saltyessentials

    Just re-watched this episode last night, but am still in the midst of your podcast for it.

    I remember thinking, the first time I saw this one, that Beth Chadwick was going to be a somewhat “sympathetic” murderer, what with seeing how she was treated by her family and all. But that was pretty quickly dispelled by seeing the gleeful look in her eyes as she awaited her brother’s arrival, gun and chocolates in hand, as well as by the Jekyll and Hyde change in personality after her brother’s death. Yikes!

  • One More Thing…

    Susan Clark was married to Alex Karras who played for the Detroit Lions and played Mongol in Blazing Saddles. He also starred with Susan Clark in Webster

  • jeff n

    Great show guys. To your point about how much of this would not hold up in court.

    I was amazed that the writers went to Colombo checking for Dustin hours of life on the lightbulb. All this was excused away pretty easily.

    But if he had simply checked lightbulb for fingerprints, she would have no reason to ever touch that.

    Just too simple to match for interesting insights I guess.

  • Tim S. Turner

    Just fyi, director Norman Lloyd was an actor for a long time previous to this. His most famous role was as the villain in Alfred Hitchcock’s SABOTEUR. He also was one of the main characters on the 1980s series ST. ELSEWHERE.

  • Wayne Kozak

    If you want to be accurate Lee Grant was the first female murderer. I guess you can argue it was in a pilot movie, not in the official start of the series.

    • That’s certainly true. We started the podcast at Murder by the Book and didn’t cover Ransom for a Dead Man until a little later on though, so for us it was the first!

      • Wayne Kozak

        Hi: This is Wayne. No problem. I am a trivia buff. I watch Columbo all the time even the episodes I don’t really like.